Curle: Timing of Amato's Firing Disappointing

When the news that Chuck Amato was going to be released started to trickle out onto the web Sunday evening, it came as hardly a surprise to many State fans and myself.

Finishing the year with a 3-9 record and two losses to your biggest in-state rivals wasn't going to cut it in the face of dwindling expectations, embarrassing media gaffs and undisciplined team play.

I am disappointed, however, in the timing of it all. Late Sunday evening? With a press release? No press conference?

This seems hardly a fitting goodbye for a man that gave everything he had to the university that meant everything to him.

By all accounts, the impetus for this decision came not from Fowler—who stood by Chuck through all but the toughest of times—but from the big-money donors on the board of trustees. They were displeased with the way he'd handled the media, his assistants and members of the board itself. Amato wasn't going to change the way he went about things, even when it could've saved his job in the long run.

The governing body of N.C. State, the university that gave Chuck a chance on the football field as both a player and a coach, said they'd had enough of him. Hell hath no fury like a board of trustees scorned, I suppose.

But to boot Amato from the big chair in the Murphy Center office he helped build should've been handled differently.

If losing at North Carolina sealed Amato's fate, as many have speculated, why wait to announce his firing until after the final home game of the season? Firing someone isn't easy—you're admitting failure as an administration, in a sense—but the board of trustees, Fowler and the university owed it to Amato to announce their decision prior to the East Carolina game.

Doing so would've given the fans in attendance the opportunity to give Amato a show of a gratitude for the past seven seasons. One final ovation to say, "thanks coach for what you've done for us." And who knows, maybe State would've played inspired this past weekend and won one for Chuck to send him out on a winning note. Instead of playing tight, worrying if a loss to the Pirates would cost Amato his job, the team of recruits he wooed to Raleigh might've played with abandon and fire knowing the outcome of that game would play no part in Amato's future.

There's no way to say things would've transpired this way had the decision come in the week leading up to the ECU game. Maybe State loses to the Pirates anyway. Maybe Chuck doesn't get the warm reception I think he would in his final game.

But as it stands, Amato is forced to exit stage left with nary the opportunity to hear the gratitude from the multitude in Carter-Finley, nor the opportunity to reciprocate his appreciation to them.

I for one feel a bit cheated, and so should Chuck.


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